New Delhi: Japan will soon witness a surging influx of foreign visitors when it will host the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. However, the country is facing the dilemma of whether to identify its Buddhist temples on maps with the ‘manji’ symbol or not.
Often confused with the Nazi swastika, the symbol hailing from ancient Sanskrit means happiness and prosperity. Usually pointing counter-clockwise (the reverse of the Nazi symbol), the swastika in Japan has been used for centuries in Buddhist decorations, denoting Buddhist temples on maps.
The recommendation was based on survey results collected from more than 1,000 foreigners, including embassy officials, exchange students as well as tourists.
The symbol which has been used for centuries by Hindus and Buddhists has many Western tourists associating it with anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. This was because the emblem was adopted by Nazi Germany in order to enhance their ancient lineage.
In a bid to replace the swastika, a government panel at the Geospatial Information Authority proposed a three-tiered pagoda symbol making it a part of one of the 18 suggested icons for landmarks. Other symbols include hospitals and convenience stores for foreign-language maps as a part of a wider effort to create user-friendly maps for the growing number of foreign tourists.
Public opinion is witnessing an equal say on Twitter and other social networks with supporters attributing the change to bring about an end to the ongoing confusion among tourists and opponents discouraging such change being made for the sake of tourists. Others noted that the symbol of ‘manji’ is different from the Nazi symbol since it turns the opposite way.
The objective is to make symbols easier to understand, said geospatial authority mapping officer, Takayuki Nakamura.
“A good symbol on the map should be able to tell a visitor what it is at the first glance,” he said. “The question is whether one can easily tell it’s a temple by looking at the current symbol.”
Japan’s main Buddhist group is indifferent to the decision. This is because the change is not likely to affect domestic maps and, therefore, won’t be altering perceptions in Japan.
Referring to a common term used for the Nazi emblem, Ryoka Nishino, a spokesman for Japan Buddhist Federation said: “We are aware that some people say the ‘manji’ symbol could remind them of the ‘hakenkreuz’ symbol, which was created much later in history.”
“Even though we have more foreign visitors, our symbol that decorates each temple will stay,” he said.
Other symbols that would be altered for foreign maps include the one for a hotel, which currently looks like the symbol for helipads. The current giant X sign supposedly representing a pair of clubs for police station would be replaced by a saluting policeman.
The maps would add a new symbol for convenience stores, which is pervasive all over Japan- a sandwich and water bottle.
A final decision is expected in late March following a period of seeking public comment. (Inputs from gulfnews.com)(Image source: blogspot.com)
A few weeks back, somehow I stumbled upon a show, on History channel, called Ancient Aliens.
After watching a couple of episodes, I think the show is trying to convey the following points:
1. Ancient civilizations were not able to do anything and they had no scientific knowledge, they were not able to build megalithic structures. Extraterrestrials came to earth and gave them the knowledge and also built things for them. They taught them science, mathematics, technology etc.
2. They even give the impression that all over the world, the government and high profile people are still in contact with extraterrestrials but all of them are trying to hide it from the public for some unknown reason and they all are able to keep it to themselves.
3. Gods may be extraterrestrial beings. They are very advanced scientifically and have very high tech spaceships and weapons. These beings came many times and at many places on earth. They interacted with different cultures. They want to control humans.
4. ET’s are continuously keeping an eye on humans.
5. They are guiding us on a specific path.
6. They keep coming and going back from this planet Earth. Initially, they came to mine Gold as their own planet was getting depleted of Gold.
7. They have lived with us and maybe living with us now. They also mate with humans. Very brilliant children on earth are the result of mating between aliens and humans.
8. They can wipe us out with weapons or diseases e.g. plagues.
9. Whole earth may be a scientific lab.
10. Aliens are doing some genetic experiment on us. All species of humans were created as an experiment and when the experiment did not go in the right direction, whole species e.g. Neanderthals, hominids etc were wiped out.
11. Time cycle on earth keeps repeating itself. Similar to a clock.
12. Our planet is a hologram. There is knowledge everywhere in the atmosphere. We just need to know how to get it. In very deep meditation probably we can get this knowledge which is in a code form. Many discoveries and inventions were by people who got this knowledge suddenly e.g. Nikola Tesla, Baba Vanga, Ramanujan etc.
13. Different religions/ cultures/civilizations have many common events e.g. great flood, the appearance of God or his messenger, working towards making Gods or ET’s happy, concept of nine gods or counsel of nine, demigods, and primordial sea etc.
14. Many temples all over the earth still have some secret areas, wealth etc. which are not open to the public. Some of these are guarded by military and are considered very dangerous to go even nearby. Some people who tried to go in these areas fell very sick and died or never came back.
15. UFO is a real phenomenon. Many countries have secret labs where they are studying crashed UFO’s and captured aliens.
16. ET’s have bases on many of the planets including ours. They are present on Earth’s poles and other places on earth as well as inside earth. There are many layers inside the earth where vast cities of aliens exist.
17. There are living beings/life in space and on other planets. Some living beings live in extremes of temperatures or extremes of other conditions. There are beings who die if exposed to oxygen, some die in water, some die without water. There are living organisms on meteors, asteroids etc.
18. Shivling’s central pillar like part represents an energy storage equipment or atomic area. Surrounding part of the pillar is for waste materials to come out. Water is offered at the top of the pillar, like in nuclear reactors, to cool it down.
19. Kailash temple in Ajanta and Allora caves was built by ET’s using very high tech equipment which was capable of evaporating all ruble.
20. Underneath an Indian temple is an extensive tunnel system going to an underground structure where some beings sit on levitating thorns. Indian Government does not allow anyone to go near it.
21. Below another Indian temple, there is a door made of iron which has no locks. It is closed by mantras and no one dares to open it.
22. They say the US has a military base on the moon and that the moon is artificial and aliens have hollowed it out and have a city inside it.
23. There is a galactic war also.
24. Aliens abduct humans and do experiments on them. There are incidences where they took away the fetus from mother’s womb. Abductees describe these aliens as grey people and they feel paralyzed but are conscious during abduction period. Some abductees come back and some do not. There are instances where the whole village or group of people vanished from the earth.
25. There are giants, like Big Foot, living in woods. They smell like Sulphur, make loud sounds and elope very fast. They are doing some secret work for ET’s or are left here, on planet earth, for wrong or criminal activity on other planets.
Some points, which I don’t understand by watching Ancient Aliens, are…
1. First of all, if the aliens helped us building these mega structures like Machu Pichuu or the temple of Baalbek, then why did they take away the knowledge from us and why are they not helping us or building their own structures presently?
2. If they were so high tech, what happened to all of their creations? Why is everything in ruins now? Why we have to dig to find those structures now?
3. If they are living on other planets, what was the need to come to Earth and build things, is this not extra labor for them. And if they like Earth so much that they help us build things, then why don’t they live here?
4. They say that sometimes aliens give us knowledge and help us build thing but other times they say that aliens want to control us, destroy us and spread diseases like plagues. Is this not contradictory?
5. The makers of the show have themselves not seen any extraterrestrials, so their theories are based purely on imagination and have no scientific proof behind them.
6. They never bring mainstream scientist and archeologist on the show and interview them or ask their opinions, thus making people believe only their own opinion.
7. They keep repeating the same phrases and believe that by saying it repeatedly it will come true.
8. In one of the episodes, they say that deep inside a big structure and that it was very dark and there was no way to use lamps as there was not enough oxygen inside. Another said that he went there and tried to light his lighter but because of very low oxygen levels lighter was not lighting up. He forgot that he was breathing okay in that area of very low oxygen and came back alive with no consequences of low oxygen levels.
Sometimes it looks like their show is phony and fake. Many times it seems that they take a very small point and turn it into a mammoth thing and assume that extraterrestrials were behind that. Maybe they are fabricating some points.
Just to mention that many of Ancient Aliens Theorists do not have a degree in archaeology, history, religion, ancient language etc.
At some other times, it seems that their theory makes sense. As there are no explanations till now of many historical events, structures, knowledge etc., this theory at least tries to give some sense to these. These people are just postulating theories. They are not claiming that their theory is 100% true. If you believe that they are spreading lies then why no one ever sued them and History Channel.
Overall the show is very entertaining, educative, and addictive.